Petrol: promoting gas is stepping stone towards more environmentally friendly energy
Authors: Primož Kramer, director of Energy Distribution Systems, and Borut Sočič, product manager at Alternative Energy Development and Management
Petrol promotes the transition towards more environmentally friendly energy for households and industrial users, as well as municipalities and individuals regarding mobility. The company also carries out the mandatory public service of building and managing the gas pipeline network. Natural gas is a cleaner “ready to use” energy product that reduces heating costs, increases the quality of living and improves air quality in cities. In addition to being a clean fuel, it is also cheap and versatile.
Petrol manages natural gas distribution in two countries
Natural gas distribution means its transport through local or regional pipeline networks to ensure a reliable supply for consumers. Natural gas is distributed using underground pipelines, meaning that its use lessens the burden on the road network, reduces the risk of spillage and reduces the threat to groundwater and other water sources.
At the Petrol Group, natural gas distribution is a service currently provided in two countries, Slovenia and Serbia. The company sees the opportunity for further development in acquiring new concessions, taking over companies on existing markets and entering the Croatian market. “Of course, with the vision of achieving synergies in supplying natural gas, electricity and other products and packages,” says Primož Kramer, director of Energy Distribution Systems.
Versatility of liquefied petroleum gas
In addition to natural gas distribution systems, Petrol’s business activities also include liquefied petroleum gas distribution systems. As part of public-private partnerships, the company thus takes on the comprehensive setup of the liquefied petroleum gas heating system. This comprehensive service encompasses the initial planning, gas storage setup and external gas installations on the building. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient fuel, and it offers the greatest combustion efficiency with practically zero heat loss.
With LPG, the majority of recent activities are centred around using LPG in manufacturing and industry, and as autogas. In Slovenia in the last few years, LPG has managed to almost completely replace fuel oil, a much less environmentally friendly energy product. This was not only due to obvious environmental concerns, but also due to LPG’s price performance. Another project that has been carried out for a number of years is working with the largest consumers of extra light heating oil (ELHO) to replace ELHO with LPG, again primarily due to substantially lower costs and modern LPG technology, which also means a substantial decrease in harmful emissions. Where natural gas is not available due to network restrictions, LPG has become the first choice for many asphalt plants, and it is also widespread in other industries, such as food processing, manufacturing paints, varnishes, and insulation.
Gas has numerous advantages and is the best alternative to traditional fuels in mobility applications
“In mobility applications, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is the best alternative to traditional fuels in the car segment, with a share in the segment of light and heavy commercial vehicles. For heavy commercial vehicles, the use of compressed natural gas (CNG), otherwise most frequently used in urban public transport, is gaining ground, as is the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG), which is now only starting to be used in heavy commercial vehicles in Slovenia,” says Borut Sočič, product manager at Alternative Energy Development and Management.
Based on a successful application to the European Commission’s Blending Call, Petrol was able to acquire a grant in the amount of 20% of the entire investment in the proposed project, including the construction of seventeen CNG filling stations from 2019 to 2023. The CNG stations will be located in Slovenia and Croatia.
To acquire actual user data on alternative fuel use, Petrol concluded a partnership with a transport company to convert one heavy commercial vehicle to LPG and one vehicle to LNG. The data acquired will serve as a basis to prepare new solutions for the best possible user experience in the future.
The company also invests considerable efforts in analysing LNG and C-LNG filling stations because it firmly believes that LNG will soon become one of the key fuels in the heavy commercial vehicles segment.